In line with the Muslim building tradition, the first structure to emerge at the Sharifah Rokiah Centre of Excellence was the 10000 capacity Albukhary Mosque that was officially opened in 2001.
It is a prominent landmark in Alor Setar that echoes several Islamic architectural languages - the minarets of Masjid Nabawi in Madina, the Safavid domes of Masjid-i-Shah in Isfahan, Iran, Timurid doors and arches, the courtyard of the Imam Albukhary Mausoleum in Samarqand, the Mamluk pulpit of Qiblatain Mosque in Madina and Qaitbay Mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
Apart from being a place of worship, it has gained a good reputation for conducting briefing sessions for Hajj pilgrims as well as religious classes, lectures and seminars catering to people from all walks of life, from young children to professionals.
Adjoining the mosque is a cemety, where several deceased members of the Albukhary family have been laid to rest. The cemetery is also open to the public.
Another prominent public building here is the Souq Albukhary, a shopping mall that has been drawing crowds from Alor Setar and as far north as the Kedah-Thai border. The five-storey mall stands out with its distinctive Moghul-inspired facade of an arched gateway, watchtowers and repetitive arcades.The souq's drawcard is its tenants that include a well-established hypermarket and several chain stores and restaurants that have made their first apprearance in the northern city of Peninsular Malaysia.
There are currently about 50 children residing at the Albukhary Orphanage, mainly orphans and chilren of destitute families between the ages of five and 17. The boys and girls live in separate quarters and attend public schools in town. Much attention is given to creating a warm and nurturing environment for the children, who enjoy the benefit of a comfortable home with nutritious meals, sporting and computer facilities and religious and motivational classes. Weak students receive remedial lessons to improve their performance in school as a good education is deemed essential for a brighter future.
The orphanage is being expanded to cater for more children, the new building will be ready in 2009.
Community Education Centre
This centre provides religious education and other types of training to improve the lives of single mothers, Muslim converts, welfare department referrals and other segments of the poor.
Albukhary Dialysis Centre
The full-fledged 80-bed hospital caters only for the poor, regardless of race or religion, wh are given free medical treatment. The hospital has also set up a free dialysis centre with a total of 36 dialysis machines and a treatment room, reportedly the largest dialysis facility funded by a private charity.
The facility was built in response to the dire need for dialysis treatment among the poor. Malaysia’s Ministry of Health estimates that there are 14000 kidney patients in the country, with 2500 undergoing dialysis treatment in 2007. The numbers are growing and expected to reach 20000 by 2010 About 40 percent of patients seeks treatment in public hospitals, with another 30 percent depending on the charity of non-government organisations and other voluntary bodies.
The Albukhary Dialysis Centre will collaborate with the National Kidney Foundation and Ministry of Health to deliver free detection, treatment and care to patients. Again, it acts on the principle of volunteerism, with the facility a gift of Syed Mokhtar, while doctors and other healthcare professionals volunteer to treat patients.
Located next to the Albukhary Dialysis Centre and equivalent to a three-star hotel, it provides a choice of accommodation to suit different budgets. It has 28 twin share bedrooms, three self-contained apartment units as well as dormitory-style accommodation. This facility is likely to be appreciated by families who do not live in Alor Setar. It only provides the convenience of being walking distance from the hospital but also to the Albukhary Souq, with its hypermarket, food and shopping outlets. Ideal indeed to cater to the practical needs of families who are already emotionally burdened by an ailing family member.